Posts Tagged ‘FOX’


by @anarchyroll

Have you noticed how there are now four major 24 hour sports networks? ESPN, FOX Sports 1, NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network.

There are more than four total. Each of the above listed networks have at least one secondary sports network, in the case of ESPN there’s at least three or four more as poked fun at in the movie Dodgeball.

America sure likes its sports. I know I do. I was raised to be a sports fan, and played competitive sports for ten years of my life. I watch/listen to PTI on ESPN every morning while I am making/eating my breakfast. Watching Chicago professional team sports has been the vast majority of bonding time with  my father for most of my life.

Professional sports these days, are used as a tremendous escape and distraction from the issues of our individual lives and the world at large. I watch pro wrestling for the same reason most people watch football. The main difference, less concussions and drugs, hahaha just kidding the brains of the athletes in both sports have been turned to jelly and dust for our amusement and money.

The latter, the money, is why there are now four major 24 hour sports “news” networks. Obviously nothing that happens in sports is actually news. We might lie to ourselves and each other that it is, but it’s not. The only news that comes out of sports is when taxpayer money is used to build stadiums instead of schools, bridges, or fund education programs. Or when an athlete gets arrested or dies. Those stories often only get reported if violence/blood are involved. If it bleeds it leads after all. Sports are often the lead topic in local newscasts these days. They’re upbeat and entertaining. Sports are meant to entertain. Just like pro wrestling, “real” sports have no dignity or integrity to them, it is all about making money through entertainment.

24 hour sports networks play up smack talk, rivalries, and personal feuds between athletes the same way that pro wrestling promoters, announcers, and managers do. ESPN and FSN are farmed out hype machines, WWE just does all their hyping in-house. The major professional sports leagues provide the content, the networks provide the hype. Highlighting the highlights, spotlighting the star players, dissecting referee decisions, and most importantly promoting upcoming contests.

The biggest job of these networks; is to make children’s games played by men seem more important than politics, environment issues, or economic policy.

The major sports leagues in recent years have all starting broadcasting their own 24 hour networks for their individual league and minor league(s). The NFL Network said it best when they launched; “where football season never ends.” That is the exact purpose AND the exact problem with 24 hour sports networks. The distraction and escapism never ends.

Hard working people deserve a break and an escape via entertainment. They earn it by giving their bodies and/or minds for the bulk of their adult lives, often in the service of other people’s dreams. From movies to concerts to soap operas to hiking to video games to traveling to television; there are many ways to escape reality for a little while to rest and recover one’s body, mind, and spirit.

The problem with professional sports and professional sports networks in America; is the astonishing rate at which time, attention, and money are being siphoned from communities, cultures, and societies in the name of never-ending, passive, spectator based escapism. Playing sports after work is one thing. It is physical exercise and creates real bonds between real people. Watching sports all weekend, every weekend while eating unhealthy foods and consuming large quantities of alcohol while sitting down…Noticed how the leagues and networks are sponsored by fast food companies, soda makers, and liquor distillers? How much advertising for those products are consumers exposed to each game/highlight show?

What would American society and culture look like if the time, attention, resources, and money that are spent on professional sports spectating went to economic inequality, environment concerns, infrastructure development, and/or civics? Everyone who works for a living deserves a break. Part of being an adult is that at some point, playtime is over and it’s time to do the unpleasant work of bettering not just our life but the world we live in. I am as guilty as anyone of trying to stretch my childhood into adulthood. Judging by the ratings and profits of the professional sports leagues, I can see that I’m not the only one.





by @anarchyroll

552 episodes spread out over 25 years is an achievement almost beyond description in the entertainment world/business. The Simpsons can claim to be the greatest cartoon and greatest sitcom of all time. I grew up in an era and media market where the show had syndicated reruns airing two to three times a day, five days a week. I can quote more episodes, word for word, than any human being should.

The show’s universally agreed upon “prime” is between 1993 and 1998. Those are the years when every episode of every season was a home run let alone a hit. Starting in 1999 the show, in my opinion became more hit than miss. The rise of South Park and Family Guy, along with stagnation saw the consistency steadily decline during the first half of the 00s.

The Simpsons Movie came out in 2007 and was an adult, comedy, cartoon tour de force. It was everytIhing a fan of the franchise could have wanted or hoped for from a movie that at the time was 20 years in the making. I was told that the seasons that aired after the movie were akin to the show’s prime years from those I knew who never stopped watching the show during its lean years.

The Every Simpsons Ever marathon on FXX was an opportunity to rediscover classics of the golden years and discover new classics of recent years. 552 episodes airing 24 hours a day for 12 consecutive days, what a concept. The marathon was used to promote the upstart FXX network itself, the FXNow streaming content app, the new season of The Simpsons, and The Simpsons-Family Guy crossover episodes that both debut at the end of the month.

I partook in some binge watching during the marathon. The highlights for me where;

  • Getting to see my two favorite episodes of all time
    • Tree House of Horror V (Season 6, Episode 6)
    • You Only Move Twice (Season 8, Episode 2)
  • Discovering the show’s second golden age

The seasons that have come after the movie, especially season’s 19 and 20, contained a quantity of quality episodes that stand up to the show’s prime in the mid 1990s. After losing its way from 1999-2005, the show truly found its mojo again. Some of the things the show changed after the movie came out are;

  • Improving the animation
  • Embellishing the opening and closing credits
  • Recalibrating the levels of pop culture vs political parody/satire
  • Spotlighting and increasing the relevance of all secondary characters

I am still surprised as I type, just how great the show became again. If you were a fan of the show for any stretch of time, the recent seasons are worth going out of your way to see. Considering FXX will be airing the show five days a week, with a four-hour block on Sundays, it won’t be the toughest task in the world to do.

The Simpsons is at it’s best when it hits the full range of emotions in a given episode. The show in its prime years of the 90s knew what buttons to press with which characters to make their audience laugh, cry, get happy, and/or upset. They truly found that stride again in the five seasons since the movie came out in 2007. Truly a second golden age as there were not just a couple, but rather a couple of dozen episodes that stand up to the best of the best from the mid 90s.

My only complaint is that the marathon aired during the last week of summer rather than in the middle of winter. I’m sure myself and the millions of others who partook in the marathon of marathons would have preferred seeing snow and ice outside as opposed to sunny skies and mid 70s.

by @anarchyroll
August 25th, 2013

According to a variety of reports last week, 21st Century Fox bought 5% of VICE for $70 million.  21st Century FOX formerly known as News Corp, values the company at $1.4 billion. In the era of decaying and dissolving journalism, that is quite an accomplishment for an entertainment entity built on a foundation of gonzo journalism. Shane Smith, the co founder and CEO of VICE is very enthusiastic about the deal. His quote, which appeared in each source used for this article is, “We get to make all the content we want? With the best platforms in the world? Grow our brand exponentially? Become the next global media brand? And all the while own the vast majority of the company and vote 95% of the board? Where-do-we-fucking-sign?!”

VICE has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt that they will not change their style. They have held a virtual media stranglehold on the early adopter and hipster segments of the 18-34 year old demographic for the better part of a decade. I am a huge fan of VICE, and full discretion, hope to one day write and report for them in the spirit of what Tim Pool  has been doing over the past three years. However, as much as VICE has earned the benefit of the doubt that they won’t be manipulated by FOX, Rupert Murdoch has that much more earned the benefit of the doubt that he will try and succeed in manipulating them. One need only consult the documentary film Outfoxed to see the slow burn narrative Murdoch may use to influence the way VICE presents its content.

When a person signs a deal with the devil, it is always front loaded with benefits. $70 million upfront, barely a sliver of minority ownership given away, and a metaphoric key ring into the media markets of India, Italy, and Germany. VICE seems to have gotten one by “the man” and “the system” by being able to fund their anti establishment style of journalism and media content production. But there is no such thing as something for nothing, and if something seems too good to be true, it is. VICE now has a portfolio of minority owners, all of whom are or have corporate interests. A global talent agency (WME), a global marketing group (WPP), a bank (Raine), and now 21st Century FOX. VICE also habitually uses sponsorship money from Vitamin Water (Coca Cola), Toshiba, Intel, and General Electric. The terms rebel and anti have a permanent restraining order from corporate money and influence companies like that provide, yet VICE keeps getting deeper in with the biggest and most money thirsty.

I believe VICE has positive intentions and that they know what they are doing. I also know that they are the type of entity that welcomes devil’s advocate questions and scrutiny. They are yet to report this story on their own website. I have checked their website repeatedly each day since this story broke and one would only know about this deal because they check other news websites; why is that? 25% of VICE is now owned by international corporations that couldn’t give two fucks about journalism or fact based reporting; what is their specific influence on VICE’s content? Rupert Murdoch has bled his conservative (modern day US Republican party) agenda into all of his media enterprises; when does he try to do this with VICE? Has VICE considered Murdoch could use his influence on their other sponsors and minority owners to do this? Where does VICE selling itself a la carte to the highest bidder end? How is VICE the one media entity that doesn’t allow its content to be watered down and have its balls cut off by high level corporate cash synergy?

I am a fan and a friend of VICE. A bucket list goal of mine is to be a reporter for them. I’m not writing this article with my nose turned up, with a sarcastic tone, or a sense of moral superiority. I am passionate about truth and knowledge/information dissemination. The story of FOX buying into VICE is clouded in translucency rather than transparency. VICE has yet to report it. The only non entertainment, online news entity to report this story, was the original reporters at the Financial Times. Something stinks about this deal and the people and reporters my generation would turn to investigate it further, are the very people excepting $70 million from Rupert Murdoch.